Hong Kong’s “Cubicle Dwellers”

In light of the current political protests in Hong Kong, showcasing a project from the Hong Kong-based Society for Community Organization (SoCO), a non-governmental and human rights advocacy group, seems fitting. SoCO has organized community social actions and civic education programs to encourage political participation since 1972, and it recently brought attention to the unacceptable living conditions of many of the city’s poorer inhabitants in a disturbingly illuminating ad campaign. “Cubicle Dwellers” shows the tiny apartments, averaging only about 40 square feet and too small to be shot from anywhere but above, that over 100,000 people occupy. In these spaces, individuals and families must rest, cook, and store all their personal belongings. Due to Hong Kong’s lack of buildable space, the city has come to be one of the world’s densest, resulting in increasingly tall, tightly-packed dwellings. Indeed, thirty-six of the world’s 100 tallest residential buildings are in Hong Kong, and more people live or work above the 14th floor than anywhere else on Earth, making it the world’s most vertical city. The project highlights how the disparity between industrial growth and human needs can rapidly transform environments, and how an imbalance in the way we distribute our energy resources can paradoxically create places of enormous wealth and widespread poverty.

 

I was a little torn on posting this because it has that poverty porn feel but it’s just important stuff to realize. The pictures made me think of the hipster-driven Tiny House/Trailer movement. I can just imagine the clickbait headline, “You won’t believe how this family of four live in just 40 square feet!” and inside is an impossibly clean and sparse yet beautifully designed living space. It just seems like the aim in that whole scene is to see who can live in the teeniest space possible (a refurbished dumpster even, for fecks sake) while never giving a thought to the idea of others who live that way because they have to.  Oh, hipsters and their irony.

 

 

 

Do they know it’s Christmas in Detroit? » Blue Planet Project

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Do they know it’s Christmas in Detroit? via  Blue Planet Project

Water is a human right. Yet every week, hundreds of Detroit residents are having their water ruthlessly cut off by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, despite living on the Great Lakes, which carry one-fifth of the world’s water supply.

People are given no warning and no time to fill buckets, sinks or tubs. Families, seniors, sick and injured people and those with special needs are left without running water and working toilets, including vulnerable populations, sick people and others with special needs. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook.

The plan to cut off water to 150,000 households by the end of the summer is part of the plan to sell off and privatize Detroit’s water system. In order to make the utility attractive to investors, lower-income households are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for their water and sewer services or see their access cut. Water rates have risen in Detroit by 119 per cent in the last decade. With unemployment rates at a record high, and the poverty rate at about 40 per cent, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a significant portion of the population.

By allowing thousands of people to be denied access to water and sanitation services, the U.S. government is violating its international obligation to respect and protect the human right to water and sanitation.

Show your solidarity with the people in Detroit. Tell U.S. President Barack Obama, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to uphold the human right to water and stop the water cut-offs!

Sign the Petition

Tell Detroit to turn the taps back on: Water is a human right!

 

Environmental Injustices #NoKXL #coal #climatechange #inequality

Today’s round-up is focused on environmental injustices that greatly impact marginalized and low income people.

 

 

‘Winona LaDuke &Faith Spotted Eagle Make a Stand’ by John Isaiah Pepion, 2014, pepionledgerart.com 

 

Gyasi Ross gives thanks to all those who have been fighting to protect Mother Earth with the reminder that there’s still more to do…

This is a call to action. Right now, the State Department has THANKFULLY delayed approval or rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline again. That’s positive—that means that all of the actions of Dallas and Faith and Winona and the Niimiipu Tribe and Cheyenne River, Oglala Lakota, Honor the Earth, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred and John Pepion and MANY MANY others are paying off. There are literally tipis on the National Mall right now full of Native people taking a stand against the Keystone XL.  Thank you.  You’re making a mark. We have to make a mark—this is about the very essence of Indigenous life—our mother. Our land.

It’s not enough. We have to continue to work, sign petitions, put pressure on, make coalitions. Small steps—John Isaiah Pepion is committing a percentage of all earnings from his ledger art prints above to help this fight by directing it to Honor the Earth and Stronghold Society. Buy a print. They’re beautiful and powerful.

Small steps. Put one foot in front of the other. This is Native power. This is a fight worth fighting and worth winning. For our kids’ sakes.

Get involved. Call your legislator. Encourage NIGA, NCAI and every other Native organization to take a strong stand on this IMMEDIATELY—economic development is cool and important, and it’s good that we’ve worked on those fights. We also, however, have to make sure that we’re protecting our traditional ways of life and being. Our nations absolutely gotta have money, true, but these kinda fights are the very things that make us Indigenous and what we gotta have money FOR! Show these grassroots warriors your support. This fight ain’t over and we really REALLY could win this. The Earth will be fine, but our kids need this. Happy Earth Day.

pepionledgerart.com

honorearth.org

facebook.com/BraveHeartSociety

 

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/22/keystone-xl-and-protecting-mother-earth-fight-all-native-people-should-fight-154550#.U1a3HAGZAM0.twitter
 
djline

 

 

 

 


‘Environmental Injustice’: Minorities Face Nearly 40% More Exposure to Toxic Air Pollution | Common Dreams

A new study published this week shows that both race and class are significant indicators of how much toxic air pollution individuals face in the United States with minorities receiving nearly 40% more exposure to deadly airborne pollutants than whites.

The University of Minnesota study, according to lead researcher Julian Marshall, looked closely at the rates of pollution exposure by race, income, education and other key demographics to establish the key predictors of how specific populations are impacted across the country, state by state.

“The [main] ones are race and income, and they both matter,” Marshall said in an interview with MinnPost. “In our findings, however, race matters more than income.”

Specifically looking at levels of outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a byproduct found in vehicle exhaust and fossil fuel-fired power plants, the study—titled “National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality”—found that people of color are exposed to 38 percent more of the deadly chemical which experts say can be a key driver of heart disease and other health problems.

According to the study:

Breathing NO2 is linked to asthma symptoms and heart disease. The researchers studied NO2 levels in urban areas across the country and compared specific areas within the cities based on populations defined in the U.S. Census as “nonwhite” or “white.”

The health impacts from the difference in levels between whites and nonwhites found in the study are substantial. For example, researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease alone among nonwhites each year.

Though it has been well-documented that low-income families and minorities have long been forced to live in undesirable neighborhoods near coal plants or high-traffic roadways, this study is being called “ground-breaking” for taking a national look at the issue and using advanced satellite technology to compare specific geographic areas with advanced pollution data.

As Emily Badger writes at the Washington Post:

Studies dating back to the 1970s have pointed to a consistent pattern in who lives near the kinds of hazards — toxic waste sites, landfills, congested highways — that few of us would willingly choose as neighbors. The invariable answer: poor people and communities of color.

This pattern of “environmental injustice” suggests that minorities may contend every day with disproportionate health risks from tailpipe exhaust or coal plant emissions. But these health risks are harder to quantify than, say, the number of power plants in a city. And most of the research that has tried to do this has been limited to a single metropolitan area, or to those few places that happen to have good monitoring data on pollution.

(Photo Credit: NRDC file)

via 

djline

If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.

So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

Or so I thought when I received a press release last week from a climate group announcing that ” scientists say there is a direct link between changing climate and an increase in violence”. What the scientists actually said, in a not-so-newsworthy article in Nature two and a half years ago, is that there is higher conflict in the tropics in El Nino years, and that perhaps this will scale up to make our age of climate change also an era of civil and international conflict.

The message is that ordinary people will behave badly in an era of intensified climate change.

Let’s Call Climate Change What It Really Is — Violence | Alternet (viaguerrillamamamedicine)

djline

#Coal does not alleviate but aggravates poverty: m.huffpost.com/us/entry/51520…

Coal is “cheap” but the human and environmental cost is not.

djline

Rates of asthma are highly correlated to race and income.  The above graph shows the variations in rates in different Chicago neighborhoods.

What is the mediating variable?  Scholars cite access to medical care, the stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence, and greater exposure to pollutants.

The story is an excellent, if sad example of how health is affected by non-individual/non-biological factors.

Lots more graphs and info at Sociological Images.